226 LIFE OF a group of crocodiles. The animals slept in the sun, and were so lying that their broad scaly tails rested against each other. Little snow-white herons perched on their heads and backs, as if they had been trunks of trees, I had been looking only towards the shore, when, on lifting up some scales of mica., abounding in the sand here, I perceived the fresh footprints of a tiger, and, at eighty paces distant, saw an immensely large jaguar lying beneath the foliage of a ceiba tree* There are circumstances in life when it is impossible to reason. I was much alarmed, but had self-posses- sion enough to proceed onwards without running, and to avoid any movement of the arms. I perceived that the jaguar was fixing its attention exclusively on a swimming herd of capybaras, I therefore commenced my retreat in a long round towards the shore., gra- dually hastening my steps. How often was I tempted to look back to see if I was pursued ! Fortunately 1 did not do so till late, and then saw that the animal had remained immovable. The .wild beasts here are so well fed that they rarely attack men. I arrived breathless at the vessel, but the Indians to whom I told my adventure treated it with great indifference. However, when they had loaded their gunss they accompanied me and . Bonpland to the spot where I had seen the tiger. "We did not find him there, and did not deem it advisable to pursue him into the wood/" » The next night, Humboldt and his companions again spent on the shore, opposite the island Conserva. The lighted fires again attracted the crocodiles, and a female jaguar approached the river to water its young. The 4th April was the last day spent on the Apiire.. The insects began to torment dreadfully, especially the mncudos, whose proboscis is so long that it pene- trates through hammock and garments. The next day Humboldt's vessel, after safely avoiding the shal- lows caused by the long drought, gaily entered the long desired Orinocco.